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Community Alliance for a Safer Tomorrow (CAST) is a risk and protective factor focused approach to reducing problem behaviors in youth through community mobilization, awareness, and planning. Upper Merion Area residents work together with representatives from all sectors of the community to decrease and prevent substance abuse and violence. The risk factors for the UMA are lack of commitment to school, family management, and community laws and norms favorable toward drugs and alcohol. For the next two years, CAST will focus our efforts on decreasing these risk factors and increasing the protective factors that already exist.

All parents of students in grades 3, 5, 7, and 9 were invited by CAST in 2010, through a survey mailing, to participate in the PRIDE Parent Survey. This questionnaire asks parents to report on the behavior of their child and their child's peers at school, home and community. The questionnaire allows parents to think through their perceptions about drug use,increase awareness of their child's behaviors, and provide valuable opinions on appropriate drug prevention programming for CAST to implement.

The first charts are comparisons made between parent answers to questions and student answers. Student responses are from the Pennsylvania Youth Survey (PAYS) last given to all 6th, 8th, 10th, and 12th grade students in November 2009. All four charts show large discrepancies between the responses of parents and their children. Especially notable is the large percentage of parents who thought their students never used alcohol and the reports from the students that only 59% of the them say they never used.


Upper Merion Area Parent Responses
The next group of charts contains only parent responses to various questions from the PRIDE Survey.


More Upper Merion Area Parent Responses Only about 30% of parents feel that drugs and alcohol are a problem in the community. Although on the preceding page, about 41% of students have used alcohol. The percentage of parents inhigh school who said their children used various drugs during the past yearincreased 6 times from middle school to high school.


This serves as a summary comparison between the PRIDE parent survey and the student PA Youth Survey. Responses, feedback, and suggestions to address these issues are welcome click here.

CAST is a research-based initiative to decrease and prevent substance abuse and violence in the Upper Merion Area. CAST used results from a comprehensive diagnostic tool called the Pennsylvania Youth Survey (PAYS) administered to 6th, 8th, 10th, and 12th graders for the 2009-2010 school year. A qualitative community assessment was also completed by students and adults via individual and group administered questionnaires. This data was used as supporting evidence in determining the three risk factors for the Upper Merion Area.

Here are a few statistics that merit the three priority risk factors:


Click here to download more charts on:
• Communities That Care Risk Factors and Adolescent Problem Behaviors
• Low Commitment to School
• Family Management
• Favorable Community Norms Toward Alcohol Use
• Drugs of Choice

Click here to download Community Assessment at a Glance




Community Assessment
At A Glance

© 2021
This website was developed,  in part, under a grant number SP 14395-07 from the Office of National Drug Control Policy and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The views, policies, and opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of ONDCP, SAMHSA or HHS.